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Is there any point studying Law other than LNAT universities ?

(133 Posts)
Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 08:57:47

Our DD has visited several universities some that require LNAT and some that don't. We have split visits between her dad and me so whilst she has seen them all, we can't necessarily compare what we haven't seen. For the first time, we jointly visited Reading Uni last Saturday and I found it really refreshing - there were no airs and graces, the lecturers were engaging, campus was welcoming. DD liked it too. It felt like they recognised that new students are not the finished article but could become so in their time there.

My DH liked it too but was bit disappointed with the law firms they have links with - not the big names you see at Bristol, Nottingham, Oxford, etc.

Most of the places she has looked at are AAA or above so whilst entry requirements are similiar some require LNAT and some don't. Any opinions on how this makes a difference once you hit the real world after uni - you can probably tell I'm not a lawyer, both DH and I have science degrees but work in finance so DD is bucking our family trend.

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 09:01:33

Sorry should have added, DH working just now, I am not at the moment. He is pushing for her to apply LNAT route whereas she feels she has enough on her plate without adding that and that other unis can give her just as good. Not sure if this is because the lawyers he meets through work come from those places and he is more aware of 'who you know not what you know' culture.

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 09:03:30

*just as good a degree/start to her career.

Bluntness100 Tue 10-Oct-17 09:10:08

A lot of unis don’t bother with Lnat now, and those that do, don’t place a huge amount of store by it.

My daughter royally tanked it. 😂 She viewed reading, which I loved, and she was offered an unconditional place there, which is apparantly very rare for law, but rejected it in favour of a triple A conditional offer from Birmingham, she’s in her final year there now and loves it.

Once you’re in the real world no one gives a shit about lnat, it’s really just used as another entrance criteria for uni.

When applying to magic and silver circle law firms, they set their own tests, which you need to do on line as part of the application process.

They are nothing to do with law, but you get for example a small paragraph, on some random subject like the moon, then have to answer an awkwardly phrased multiple choice question. Multiple choices are things like is it likely the lunar circle is x, unlikely or don’t know. It’s actually really really hard. You have a set time limit and need to complete a certain amount of questions.

I think it’s to check how quickly they can read, understand what they are reading and make a judgement on it when they are not provided the information clearly.

I wouldn’t be concerned about lnat, she should do it, but ultimately her a level and gsce results are what matters.

goodbyestranger Tue 10-Oct-17 09:14:34

Really, really good guy running the show at Reading (he tutored me in contract at my own uni and his own tutor tutored DD1. He's immensely bright and very relaxed) but Reading won't be the most obvious place to spring off from into the most competitive end of the profession.

goodbyestranger Tue 10-Oct-17 09:16:09

Bluntness it's not about the LNAT per se but about the perceived strength of the uni.

Bluntness100 Tue 10-Oct-17 09:21:02

Ah ok. Then reading is good, but there is others that are perceived as better for entrance into magic or silver circle based on student placement. However I thought reading was lovely, I liked the campus and what most important is a student is happy.

goodbyestranger Tue 10-Oct-17 09:25:13

Yes Bluntness I agree about being happy. I can see that this prof would run a department with a very good vibe, unless he's changed dramatically, which I doubt.

Bluntness100 Tue 10-Oct-17 09:48:24

It’s interesting, because the open days were so different. I did reading and Brum, my husband did london, and the difference between reading and Birmingham open days were stark.

Reading was more like a college feel. It was hugely well organised and the staff actively tried to sell the uni. The mini lectures were done my young staff, one dude was a young Hugh grant lookalike, possibly to connect better with the students, but his lecture was relatively dull, it was literally him talking about land law, and owning the space above your building. No audience interaction and he had never practiced as a lawyer, he had only every taught.

Where as the Birmingham one was terribly organised, lots of hanging around and confusion. The lectures however were fantastic. A much older and on the face of it, fogey type lecturer, who happened to be a barrister did one on medical law and had everyone participate. He would present ethical legal scenarios, ask for a show of hands who thought x then explain the answer. Hugely charismatic. However it did seem much more “grown up “ as an institution.

I could see why kids would be swayed by reading, as I was, as it eas more like a school than a uni. Birmingham however was in no doubt as to its identity and neither were we.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 10-Oct-17 10:14:13

Does she want to use her Law Degree to practice as a solicitor?
That is the first question to answer.

If she does then what will matter is that she gets a minimum of AAA?AAB at A level followed by a 2.1 at a decent uni to get a training contract.

(Reading is ranked 26th Birmingham 21st so a negligible difference).

The Magic Circle big names will definitely be taking from Oxbridge/Durham, Exeter, Warwick, London unis etc.

The next tier firms will be looking at RG unis and other good ones such as UEA, Bath etc.

But the competition for training contracts is fierce. I was a solicitor and my DH is Head of Corporate at a mid-sized regional firm (in the top tier for the area in Chambers, Legal 500 etc). He has about 250 applications for 6 training contracts - all of whom have at least a 2.1 and an AAB. They are now starting to offer training contracts to those that have previously been through their internship programmes.

The "links" you refer to are not always links but merely firms marketing themselves to the students.

In the circumstances she should chose the one that she feels most comfortable with as if she is happy she is more likely to do well and achieve the grades she needs.

She must make sure she does some relevant work experience, checks which firms do internships (especially as some offer training contracts from these). My DH selects less on whether they have done DofE etc but is more impressed if they have held down a "crap" job at some point as it shows they have committed to getting somewhere on time, dealt with people and they are less likely to act "entitled".

PM if you have any law specific questions

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:18:51

Thanks all, some really interesting points to consider. I'm not used to the competitive nature of the city institutions any more, haven't worked there for a while, so am a bit out of that.

Bluntness, did your DD have to do LNAT for Birmingham and still got an offer despite tanking it ? They no longer have it as an entry requirement for 2018. Maybe your DD and others like her changed their mind about what makes a good candidate smile

eurochick Tue 10-Oct-17 11:21:00

I'm a law firm recruiting partner and have never heard of lnat...

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:27:37

Allthebest, at the moment she wants to be a barrister - but I think that is probably what many aspirational students want to do without fully appreciating how hard it is, how clever you have to be and how well connected too. She took part in a mock trial back in Year 9 and loved it and that sort of got the ball rolling on the law career. She has done work experience at a few places and attended lectures and visited courts and still not been put off ! Of course the hard bit is yet to come with a law degree and professional exams but step by step. Thank you for PM offer, may take you up on that.

Ttbb Tue 10-Oct-17 11:28:15

Well yes, Cambridge and LSE don't require the LNAT for example and they are among the best. Ultimately you want top 15 law schools. If you stick the Russel group you should be ok-just check that the law school is ok first. I would also caution you about limiting your DD-if she is timid of airs and graces she will get no where as a lawyer, tell her to go to the best one she can get into.

2014newme Tue 10-Oct-17 11:31:44

At dh firm they recruit for training contracts from those that have done vacation placements with them.
Lnat I've never heard of.
Legal qualifications are all changing in 2020 anyway

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:33:55

Eurochick, does this mean you didn't do it when you started out ? These are the unis that require it www.lnat.ac.uk/what-is-lnat/do-i-need-to-sit-the-test/ . Agree there are not many but it seems they are the ones with magic circle firms splashed about during open days.

Reading is not RG whereas Birmingham, Southampton, Manchester, Exeter, etc are - does this influence you in anyway as Allthebest mentions ?

LostMyMojoSomewhere Tue 10-Oct-17 11:38:57

Former law firm recruitment partner here - never heard of LNAT.

Bear in mind that Reading may not be on the "circuit" of universities which firms target for TC and work experience. It will make your DD's life a lot easier if those links exist.

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:47:28

Ttbb that's what my DH keeps saying. DD is not put off by airs and graces at all. It was a refreshing change to me that's all - at Reading it definitely came across as if they actually wanted the students there rather than the other way round. I'm the timid one.

Historyismylife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:57:45

Also, when you say top 15 law schools, are you taking this from UCAS / Times or is there some other source we should have looked at ? We have looked at Times and Guardian tables and she had a list she looked up at school.

What constitutes a law school being good - RG / student satisfaction / employment ratings ?

titchy Tue 10-Oct-17 11:57:51

Well obviously the answer to the OP is yes. However I think you've asked the wrong question. The LNAT is completely and utterly irrelevant to getting a top tier tc (if that is in fact what she wants, rather than what your dh wants...).

The question you should both be asking is what are the best universities to gain such a TC. As a pp said, Cambridge doesn't use LNAT and you'd be hard pushed to find someone who said a Cambridge LLB was crap. Similarly SOAS which is LNAT won't attract magic circle types due to it's speciality.

Bluntness100 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:58:23

Hi, she did thr lnat I think before she decided her preferred uni, either way it wasn’t really relevant to her choice of uni. She did fail it though.

They say if you’re very academic you will be less good at lnat and I think there is something in it, mine is very academic, She’s A*A*A and all A* or A at gsce.

I would agree with the poster who said that getting a training contract is very hard, she did get a telephone interview for an internship at one of the magic circle last year, but I suspect that was due to her results on the test. In a second year it’s nigh on impossible. The application process is time consuming and onerous, it really is.

Of the 400 students who started at Birmingham in the first year, only 200 made it to second year. She’s doing all the applications again this year, but has already decided to proceed on her own to do a masters and LPC next year if she doesn’t succeed. She was one point off a first in her second year and even with that god knows if she will get a training contract, this years she’s applying much wider.

I would suggest your daughter goes for the best uni she can but is also happiest at. The two things are important. If she doesn’t love it it’s game over.

I would say law is not an easy choice of career path and it’s a long road before they qualify and are practising, there is also a shed ton of reading involved in it as you can imagine and a huge amount of essay writing, so she needs to think that through. It’s always the law students you find late at night in the library.

2014newme Tue 10-Oct-17 12:01:24

Problem is that there are many more law students than training contracts. Many end up as paralegals etc. But law firms rarely offer train contracts to paralegals already in the firm, although it can happen it's not common

LostMyMojoSomewhere Tue 10-Oct-17 12:15:50

What constitutes a law school being good - RG / student satisfaction / employment ratings ?

In all honesty, the partners and grad recruitment team looked at A-level results and then probably looked most favourably at Oxbridge, Bristol, Durham, London (KCL/LSE/UCL), Brum, Notts, Warwick, York. This was not a deliberate exclusion of other universities, but that was where most of us went and where most of our trainees who were UK-educated had come from. Even then, we usually had hundreds more applicants than opportunities - a particular low point was reached when a guy with a double first from Oxford and some stellar national service applied for a paralegal job paying flumpence per year because he couldn't get a TC.

My two pennorth: I would advise your DD to think very carefully before doing law. Especially in a non-RG university. (Currently praying that DS does something else...!) smile

goodbyestranger Tue 10-Oct-17 12:17:48

It's obviously not the case that the less 'academic' you are, the less well you'll score on the LNAT! The fact that your DD did poorly in the test but is an A* (ie 'academic') student doesn't lead to that conclusion. although you do imply that others say this too. I've not heard it myself and it begs the question as to why highly academic institutions eg Oxford use the LNAT as an important indicator of academic potential for the course.

I don't think the application process for Magic Circle firms is that onerous actually, not by comparison to the long, long internships for investment banking and the even longer path to pupillage and tenancy. DD1 did a couple of tests, a couple of two week vac schemes (one with an extra week in Hong Kong smile ) and was then, at the start of her third year at uni, in the comfortable position of having a fully funded year of professional exams all fixed up with a job at the end of it. It's definitely competitive but the process is not onerous, in the scheme of things.

randomsabreuse Tue 10-Oct-17 12:29:44

I'm a fair old time free from my training contract at a magic circle firm and got interviews at another couple with my 2:1 from Birmingham. People in my intake were from the obvious suspects plus SOAS (popular for the obvious languages for global firms), Reading and Cardiff.

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